Displaced Stay At Home Californian in rural N. Carolina

The Many Faces of Joy

The Many Faces of Joy

Saturday, November 29, 2008


I've been thinking about having another baby and that brings me to the topic of breastfeeding. I think that everyone knows that breastfeeding is the best choice for Mom and the best choice for baby too. I know that everyone has their reasons for breastfeeding and for not breastfeeding and while many women out there will defend their choice as loudly and as aggressively as they can, they will still have to agree with health professionals and say that if you can do it and you are willing to do it, then do it because it is the best thing for you and for your baby. I am not going to list all the good things it does for both Mommy and Baby but I breastfed two children until they were 18 months and 17 months old, respectively, and I think my children are, well, perfection. So I've proven all those health professionals right.

I remember when my first was 4 months old we planned a trip to Southern California to visit several different friends. Like most first time Mothers I was concerned about exposing too much of myself in front of friends and strangers but my parents-in-law had watched me nurse in just a bra and my step-dad had seen me nurse in a hospital gown while sitting next to me so I figured that everyone would be an adult and if they felt like watching, they would watch and if they didn't, well then they would look at something else. Silly me.

Turns out that people get all freaked out about nursing babies in public. So much so, they've created these tent like shrouds and all sorts of table cloths that are to be draped over and around a woman's body and a baby's head so that no part of a breast connected to a baby's mouth is visible. People also feel it is considered appropriate to stride by while saying loudly, "That is SO disgusting", "Find a private place", and my favorite "Don't they still make bottles and formula for that kind of thing?"

Imagine my surprise when the friend we were going to visit said on the phone as we planned our trip "I hope you don't plan on pulling your breasts out in front of my husband" and then waited for my response. I stammered something about breastfeeding not being a chance for her husband to ogle my breasts but rather a food source but it wasn't convincing to her or to me. I did spend a lot of time breastfeeding upstairs while at their house however because I felt uncomfortable after what she had said. (She had two children of her own by this time but had chosen not to breastfeed)

By the time I had my 2ND child, I was so over the "hiding" stage as well as the "how to breastfeed discreetly" stage because, well, quite honestly, I couldn't be bothered and I didn't care. It is my belief that breastfeeding is not something dirty or sexual and should be done whenever and wherever your child is hungry since food equals life. I would not ask someone to take their dinner to a bathroom and perch on a toilet to eat it or take their food into a closet and hide out while they work on nourishment, so being asked to leave a public place to breastfeed or cover my child's face with a drop cloth, drape or curtain is silly.

I thought I had heard it all when last week out of nowhere a very close friend said to me, "Well, you have to admit that you were pulling your breasts out in front of my parents and it was quite unnecessary to expose yourself to that extent" (this friend, by the way, has no children and has done no breastfeeding, at least not the kind that involves babies.)

I am going to go out on a limb and say that this has nothing to do with medical breakthroughs or science, nothing to do with advances in technology, nothing to do with education or higher learning, nothing at all to do with how well read or travelled you are, it all boils down to boobies and whether or not you can see them.

Saturday, November 8, 2008


I was raised by hoarders. Not the kind of hoarders you see on that TLC show that have to live in a tent in the backyard because their house is packed to the ceiling with new clothes they have never worn, pipe cleaners and Christmas wrapping that was on sale. But rather the kind that bought 103 cans of vegemeat from the Chinese market because it was only 89cents a can instead of the regular $1.39. By the way, once the cans were purchased, they were put under the house in the crawlspace and forgotten until two years later when I would visit and the question would be put to me, "Hey, you want take home some vegemeat?" We would then make our way down to the crawlspace only to find out that the cans had buckled and become rusty and a couple had exploded.

When we were kids we lived in Jamaica for 4 years. We had never seen stores that had empty shelves or lived anywhere that rationed bags of rice or blocks of cheese. My grandmother would place us in the line at different points so we could get 2, 3 and even 4 bags of rice instead of just one. Because the general population in Jamaica is a different ethnicity than we are - it didn't take long for the person handing out the rice or the cheese to get wise to us and tell us to get out of the line for good or else he would "box our ears".

Then my Mom married a guy who was the king of hoarders, at least an arch-duke of some kind. He tells the story of telling his mother they were short on peanut butter when he was a kid and being the kind of kid that just had to have his peanut butter he worried that they would run out. The way he tells the story I get the feeling that his mother was not the kind that you see in Norman Rockwell paintings or the kind that would concern herself with the shortage of peanut butter. Anyway - he ran out and then had to wait something like 2 weeks to get more because everytime he would ask about it she would bark at him or ignore him. So you can imagine the gigantic Cost-co sized cans of peanut butter that he had stashed in these wall lockers that were under lock and key.

Once in awhile when I go to the grocery store (the one that shall remain nameless) I will see a really great deal like big bags of raisins for $2.99 or 24 packs of toilet paper for $4.99 and I will put two or three in my cart only to find myself wheeling the cart back there in 10 minutes or so to put them back with their friends. I once bought 4 bags of lentils at $69 cents a pound and was so embarrased that we had to eat lentils for a month straight until they were gone. I refuse to become a hoarder. And while I pride myself on not being one and on only buying the things we need for the next week or the next two weeks, I fight the urge all the time.